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LETTER: Save Box Mountain in Nakusp from logging

The mountain has been under threat before and it’s time to save it again, said the letter

Dear editor,

Author of Finding the Mother Tree, Dr. Suzanne Simard, Registered Professional Forester, Professor of Forest Ecology, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia, visited Box Mountain in Nakusp BC May 25, 2021 to do a walk-through and follow up assessment because the Box Mountain forest is slated for logging in the name of fire risk reduction.

During her several hours in the deep forest Dr Simard said there was plenty of evidence of old growth forest and that it is at low risk of forest fire.

READ MORE: Box Mountain residents rally to protect their water

This is supported in her assessment which has been circulated to Nacfor, the Village of Nakusp and the Wildfire Mitigation Regional District of Central Kootenay Coordinator.

She said, “The dominant trees are approximately 40m in height, 1 meter in diameter and 150-200 years old. If the trees are confirmed to be >150 years old, the forest is considered old-growth. Meeting old-growth criteria indicates the stand would qualify for an old-growth logging deferral…. The understory is comprised predominantly of a deep moss layer with very little understory or mid-canopy shrubs or trees. The lack of understory, north aspect and presence of multiple ephemeral streams together indicate the site is at low risk of fire.”

These two factors alone should be enough to halt any plans by Nacfor for logging in any capacity — even under the guise of fire risk prevention.

Additionally, during the Open House Zoom of May 26, 2021 with Nacfor, Hugh Watt reiterated that there would be no plans to go ahead with logging if residents of the Crescent Bay and Box Mountain area were not in favor. Many residents of the areas of Box Mountain have voiced that they are indeed strongly NOT in favour. Box Mountain is a watershed and any logging would disturb the mature forest and would cause compounding problems, compromising an already scarce water supply to over 300 residents.

In the past Box Mountain has been at risk of being logged and was saved 20 years ago by the efforts of concerned residents, including Jack Gould.

Protectors of Box Mountain are generally sceptical and mistrusting of any logging of the mature forest, given the clear-cutting and enormous destruction being done to other forests around Nakusp and throughout BC which were also slotted for “fire risk prevention.”

Ideally, Nacfor will honour their word and dismantle any plans in response to the residents not being in favour, coupled with the evidence put forth by Dr. Susanne Simard.

Nancy Gould,